Super Smash Bros. (video game)
|Super Smash Bros.|
North American box art
|Series||Super Smash Bros.|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo 64, iQue Player|
Super Smash Bros.[a] (retroactively known as Super Smash Bros. 64 to avoid confusion with later entries in the series) is a crossover fighting video game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was first released in Japan on January 21, 1999, in North America on April 26, 1999, and in Europe on November 19, 1999. The first game in the Super Smash Bros. series, it is a crossover between several different Nintendo franchises, including Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Mother, F-Zero, Yoshi, Kirby, and Pokémon. It presents a cast of characters and locations from these franchises and allows players to use each character's unique skills and the stage's hazards to inflict damage, recover health, and ultimately knock opponents off the stage.
Super Smash Bros. received mostly positive reviews upon its release. It was a commercial success, selling over five million copies worldwide by 2001, with 2.93 million sold in the United States and 1.97 million sold in Japan. It was given an Editors' Choice award from IGN for the "Best Fighting Game", and also became a Nintendo 64 Player's Choice title. The game spawned a series of sequels for each successive Nintendo console, starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee which was released for the GameCube in 2001.
The Super Smash Bros. series is a departure from the general genre of fighting games; instead of depleting an opponent's life bar, Smash Bros. players seek to knock opposing characters off a stage. Each player has a damage total, represented by a percentage, which rises as damage is taken and can reach a maximum damage of 999%. As this percentage rises, the character is knocked progressively farther by attacks. To knock out (KO) an opponent, the player must send that character flying off the edge of the stage, which is not an enclosed arena but rather an area with open boundaries. When knocked off the stage, a character may use jumping moves in an attempt to return; some characters have longer-ranged jumps and may have an easier time "recovering" than others. Additionally, characters have different weights, making it harder for heavier opponents to be knocked off the edge, but harder for them to recover once sent flying.
While games such as Street Fighter and Tekken require players to memorize complicated button-input combinations, Super Smash Bros. uses the same control combinations to access all moves for all characters. Characters are additionally not limited to only facing opponents, instead being allowed to move freely. The game focuses more on aerial and platforming skills than other fighting games, with larger, more dynamic stages rather than a simple flat platform. Smash Bros. also implements blocking and dodging mechanics. Grabbing and throwing other characters is also possible.
Various weapons and power-ups can be used in battle to inflict damage, recover health, or dispense additional items. They fall randomly onto the stage in the form of items from Nintendo franchises, such as Koopa shells, hammers, and Poké Balls. The nine multiplayer stages are locations taken from or in the style of Nintendo franchises, such as Planet Zebes from Metroid and Sector Z from Star Fox. Although stages are rendered in three dimensions, players move within a two-dimensional plane. Stages are dynamic, ranging from simple moving platforms to dramatic alterations of the entire stage. Each stage offers unique gameplay and strategic motives, making the chosen stage an additional factor in the fight.
In the game's single-player mode, the player battles a series of computer-controlled opponents in a specific order, attempting to defeat them with a limited number of lives in a limited amount of time. While the player can determine the difficulty level and number of lives, the series of opponents never changes. If the player loses all of their lives or runs out of time, they can continue at the cost of a loss of overall points. This mode is referred to as Classic Mode in sequels. The single-player mode also includes two minigames, "Break the Targets" and "Board the Platforms", in which the objective is to break each target or board multiple special platforms, respectively. A "Training Mode" is also available in which players can manipulate the environment and experiment against computer opponents without the restrictions of a standard match.
Up to four people can play in multiplayer mode, which has specific rules predetermined by the players. Stock and timed matches are two of the multiplayer modes of play. This gives each player a certain number of lives or a selected time limit, before beginning the match. Free for all or team battles are also a choice during matches using stock or time. A winner is declared once time runs out, or if all players except one or a team has lost all of their lives. A multiplayer game may also end in a tie if two or more players have the same score when time expires, which causes the round to end in sudden death.
The game includes twelve playable characters from popular Nintendo franchises. Characters have a symbol appearing behind their damage meter corresponding to the series to which they belong, such as a Triforce behind Link's and a Poké Ball behind Pikachu's. Furthermore, characters have recognizable moves derived from their original series, such as Samus's charged blasters and Link's arsenal of weapons. Eight characters are initially playable, and four additional characters can be unlocked by meeting specific criteria.
The character art featured on the game's box art and instruction manual is in the style of a comic book, and the characters are portrayed as toy dolls that come to life to fight. This style has since been omitted in the sequels, which feature trophies instead of dolls and in-game models rather than hand-drawn art.
Super Smash Bros. was developed by HAL Laboratory, a Nintendo second-party developer, during 1998. Masahiro Sakurai was interested in making a fighting game for four players. As he did not yet have any original ideas, his first designs were of simple base characters. He made a presentation of what was then called Kakuto-Geemu Ryuoh (Dragon King: The Fighting Game) to co-worker Satoru Iwata, who helped him continue. Sakurai understood that many fighting games did not sell well and that he had to think of a way to make his game original. His first idea was to include famous Nintendo characters and put them in a fight. Knowing he would not get permission, Sakurai made a prototype of the game without sanction from Nintendo and did not inform them until he was sure the game was well-balanced. The prototype he presented featured Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus and Fox as playable characters. The idea was later approved. Although never acknowledged by Nintendo or any developers behind Super Smash Bros., third party sources have identified Namco's 1995 fighting game The Outfoxies as a possible inspiration.
Super Smash Bros. features music from some of Nintendo's popular gaming franchises. While many are newly arranged for the game, some pieces are taken directly from their sources. The music for Super Smash Bros. was composed by Hirokazu Ando, who later returned as sound and music director for Super Smash Bros. Melee. A complete soundtrack was released on CD in Japan through Teichiku Records in 2000.
Super Smash Bros. received mostly positive reviews, with criticism mostly directed towards the game's single-player mode. GameSpot's former editorial director, Jeff Gerstmann, noted the single-player game "won't exactly last a long time". Instead, he praised the multi-player portion of the game, saying that it is "extremely simple to learn". He called the game's music "amazing". IGN's Peer Schneider agreed, calling the multiplayer mode "the game's main selling point", while GameCritics.com's Dale Weir described Super Smash Bros. as "the most original fighting game on the market and possibly the best multiplayer game on any system". Brad Penniment of AllGame said the game was designed for multiplayer battles, praising the simplicity of the controls and the fun element of the game. There were criticisms, however, such as the game's scoring being difficult to follow. In addition, the single-player mode was criticized for its perceived difficulty and lack of features. Schneider called Super Smash Bros. "an excellent choice for gamers looking for a worthy multiplayer smash 'em-up". Another IGN editor Matt Casamassina called it an incredibly addictive multiplayer game, but criticized the single-player mode for not offering much of a challenge. It was given an Editors' Choice award from IGN.
Super Smash Bros. was commercially successful, and became a Nintendo 64 Player's Choice title. In Japan, 1.97 million copies were sold, and 2.93 million have been sold in the United States as of 2008.
Super Smash Bros. has spawned four sequels, beginning a franchise that continues to be one of Nintendo's best and quickest-selling game series. Several games in the series have been played professionally, and games in the series have been on the Major League Gaming tournament roster since 2004.
The first sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, was released for the GameCube two years after the original. Melee retains nearly all the gameplay features of its predecessor while also expanding upon them, as well as expanding the fighter lineup. It also features three unlockable stages from the original game. As of March 2008, 7.09 million copies of Super Smash Bros. Melee had been sold worldwide.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl for Wii was released in 2008. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata requested Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai to direct Brawl after it was announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006's pre-conference. Brawl retains most of the gameplay of its predecessors while featuring major gameplay additions—such as a more substantial single-player mode and online play via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection—and a further-expanded lineup. Unlike its predecessors, the game has four methods of control, including the use of the Wii Remote (with or without the Nunchuk), GameCube controller, and the Classic Controller. Like Melee, Brawl makes references to other Nintendo games and franchises, but also features third-party characters, a first for the series. As of March 2013, a total of 11.49 million copies were sold, making it the 9th best selling Wii game in history.
Super Smash Bros. was released for the Wii Virtual Consoles in Japan, North America, and Europe throughout 2009. It was noted by Nintendo as their 500th Virtual Console offering in North America. In July 2013, the game was offered as one of several Virtual Console games which "Elite Status" members of the North America Club Nintendo could redeem as a free gift.
Nintendo announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 that they would be releasing two new Super Smash Bros. games, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, making it the first cross-platform and first portable release in the series. Cross-compatibility between the Wii U and 3DS versions was also confirmed, allowing players to customize their characters and transfer them between versions. While development had begun, Sakurai stated that the early announcement was made public in order to attract developers needed for the game. The titles are also the first games to utilize Nintendo's Amiibo platform. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U were released in late 2014.
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